New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has asked the universities to become thought leaders for finding solutions to global challenges such as climate change, poverty and pollution. He wants universities to discuss various socio-economic and political issues faced by the world and come up with ideas that can be implemented by governments as per their requirements. In the virtual inaugural session of the World Universities Summit, themed: “Universities of the Future: Building Institutional Resilience, Social Responsibility and Community Impact”, Naidu said that universities should produce good academicians, economists and politicians who have good conduct, capacity, character and calibre. He called for promoting multi-disciplinary approaches and emphasised on the collaborative academic effort to create sustainable and scalable solutions to the challenges around us. According to an official statement, Naidu said that sustainable development was the answer to many challenges faced by the world today and universities can play a major role towards this end. “Universities need to embed sustainability as an underlying mission across all activities they pursue in various fields”, he said. Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and UGC chairman D P Singh also attended the virtual event organised by the O P Jindal University.
HYBRID MODE OF TEACHING
The vice president also said that there was a need to develop a hybrid teaching model for the future by combining the best elements of offline and online education, as online education can not be a substitute for conventional classroom learning. Emphasising that teaching is not simply content delivery- rather it should prepare students to learn independently and creatively, he said such a model should be both interactive and interesting for the learner as well as the teacher to ensure the optimum learning outcomes. “Through pro-active critical thinking, learners should be moulded into leaders in their chosen fields, so that eventually they evolve into drivers of social change”, he added.
COVID-19 has forced faster innovation in the discipline of education which can help us build a more equitable system of teaching and learning. However, he expressed the need to constantly improve and upgrade the online academic ecosystem. Calling for increased use of artificial intelligence in edutech, the vice president opined that it could enrich the teaching-learning experience significantly and can also provide personalised education to every child. He also called for the use of online educational tools in skill training and adult education to enhance the skills and employability of the huge youth population.
ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES IN RESEARCH ON COVID-19
Appreciating the role of universities in research on COVID-19 vaccination and related fields, Naidu said “humanity owes much to thousands of faculty members, research scholars and students who have spent countless days and nights working silently to bring out useful research for the benefit of the world.” Calling for the internationalisation of curriculum, he wanted increased collaboration on research, joint classes and student projects with the active involvement of the industry. He expressed that he wants Indian universities to sensitise the world to the richness of the ancient Indian knowledge system that seeks to promote sustainable ways of production and consumption.
Referring to the complexity and diversity of India’s large population, the vice president wanted equity of access to education and called for the balance of quantity and quality of education to reap the benefits of the huge demographic dividend. “With our rich history of Vedas and Upanishads, we must strive to become a landmark knowledge capital of the world or Vishwa Guru, once again”, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)